- 13 May 13
From an unlikely corner of the US comes some vintage down-home, old-timey folk music...
Tumbling Bones hail from Maine on the US’ north-east coast, a place not exactly synonymous with the down-home tunes they peddle. They’re a young band and their old-timey fiddle-driven folk is no museum piece; it‘s living, breathing music infused with the rock ‘n’ roll they were reared on. Tumbling Bones are passionate about the heritage of American music and their honest, no frills take on it burns with a fire that’s all too often missing from the increasingly ubiquitous Americana-by-numbers. A song like ‘Trouble Around My Door’ is no copybook exercise in harmony. It’s a cappella singing at its best, taking its risks in its stride.
They draw on old country, bluegrass and jugband blues as well as classic songsmiths like The Beatles. Pete says: “Really the only rule we have for picking material is that it sparks us. As a result, our stuff’s pretty diverse: one song might be an old gospel tune or mountain ballad, the next a rockabilly number, the next a Motown song. Whatever we play, we ground it in a back-to-basics folk aesthetic and adapt it for acoustic stringed instruments.”
Ireland is becoming a second home for the trio who toured here last summer in support of second album Schemes. This year finds founding members Pete and Jake joined by new recruit Kyle on guitar and vocals. They get underway on May 17 at the Killary Sessions, on the Killary Fjord, Leenane and also play Mullarkey’s at Foyle’s Hotel, Clifden (18); Kenny’s, Lahinch (24); Patrick’s Bar, Ennis (25); Roadside Tavern, Lisdoonvarna (26); Beehive Bar, Ardara (31); Aras Eanna Arts Centre, Inis Oirr (June 2); Upstairs at Whelan’s, Dublin (5); Athy GAA Centre (7); McCarthy’s; Dingle (11), Old Oak, Cork (12); Westport Bluegrass Festival (14/15), and Mannion’s, Balla (16).
Luka Bloom, Scullion, Martin Hayes, Donal Lunny, Steve Cooney, Hermitage Green, We Banjo 3, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Andy Irvine, Fidil, I Draw Slow and JP Trio are amongst the acts lined up for the inaugural Doolin Folk Festival, which takes place from June 14 – 16. The three-day event will take place on the grounds of Hotel Doolin and also feature food stalls, a traditional crafts fair and a farmers’ market. Musician and event promoter Conor Byrne explains that it will feature “traditional and folk musicians who’ve had a connection with the area over the years as well as up-and-coming, cutting-edge folk and trad acts”.
The line-up recalls some of the iconic Lisdoonvarna festivals of the late ’70s and early ’80s with a number of the artists having played that event. It is, after all, only a mile or so away. See www.doolinfolkfestival.com for the full low-down.
As one-third of the Wailin’ Jennys, Ruth Moody is used to big stages. After she swings through Ireland and onto the UK leg of her solo tour, that experience will stand her in good stead as she joins Mark Knopfler for a run of six shows at the Royal Albert Hall. She’s playing here and in the UK in advance of the release of second solo record These Wilder Things, due on June 10. It was written in moments snatched while on tour. However, it belies the constraints of its origins and is a measured, gently-paced affair. You can catch her at the Spirit Store, Dundalk (May 16); Brontë Centre, Rathfriland (17); Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo (18) and the Real Music Club in the Errigle, Belfast (19).